British Airways, Iberia Airlines Settle Mail Dispute for $5.8M

(CN) – British Airways and Iberia Airlines agreed Tuesday to pay $5.8 million to settle claims that they lied to the U.S. Postal Service about what time they delivered foreign mail leaving the United States.

Both subsidiaries of the International Airlines Group, British Airways is based in Harmondsworth, United Kingdom, and Iberia Airlines is headquartered in Madrid, Spain.

Under contracts with the U.S. Postal Service, the airlines were supposed to take possession of mail at six locations in the United States, or at various Department of Defense and State Department locations abroad, and then deliver that mail to numerous international and domestic destinations.

They were not eligible for payment under the contracts, however, unless they sent the U.S. Postal Service electronic scans of the mail bins that showed what time the mail was delivered at the specified destinations.

“Today’s settlement resolves allegations that scans submitted by BA and Iberia falsely reported the time the airlines transferred possession of the mail,” the Justice Department said in a statement, using abbreviations for the airline names.

In addition to not specifying the court, the press release contains no documentation of the settlement. It does say “there has been no determination of liability” under the False Claims Act.

British Airways did not clarify these points in an email. “We understand how important it is for people and businesses to know that their letters and parcels will arrive safely and on time,” the airline said in a statement. “In the interest of resolving this matter and avoiding a prolonged legal process, we have agreed on a settlement with the DOJ.”

The website for Iberia Airlines offers only a Spanish phone number for media inquiries.

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